Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jackson Meeting Will Tackle Violence among Blacks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jackson Meeting Will Tackle Violence among Blacks

Article excerpt

Jesse Jackson hopes his conference this week with government officials and some other black leaders will help mobilize blacks to stop violence among themselves.

His message: Take personal responsibility and meet government halfway.

"The victims are not responsible for being down, but they must be responsible for getting up," Jackson, now shadow senator for the District of Columbia, said in an interview. "Fundamentally, we have to change."

Scheduled to join him at the conference in Washington are film maker Spike Lee, comedian Bill Cosby, Attorney General Janet Reno, Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, four black members of Congress and the mayors of Washington, Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit.

Cosby said the gathering was aimed at finding solutions. "It's not a conference; it's a search," he said.

Jackson said: "When a person is down in a hole, you don't scream down in there a sermon on good behavior. You drop them a bucket to pull up on."

Jackson has often accused government of failing to address social problems. But, he said, government alone cannot solve many current problems, including:

Rap music that degrades black women;

Criminal behavior among some black males, which has contributed to suspicion of blacks;

The rising number of abusive, absent or indifferent parents.

"We always drew a dignity line we would not cross," Jackson said. "We never before were driven by drugs, and greed, and guns. …

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